Winter is coming – actually, it’s already here.
Far too many golfers give up on the game during the colder months and this is a mistake. Sure, you may have to deal with frost delays and cold temperatures, but you can still enjoy the game you love.
Even in winter, a round of golf is a great way to get outdoors for a few hours and take in some fresh air.
Winter golf is however a little different.
Courses typically play harder and your body will behave differently in the cold weather. You probably won’t shoot great scores but ignore how you play, you’ll hit the ground running in the spring if you have continued to get reps during the “offseason”.
Makes sense, right?
Now that we have answered the “should you play golf in the winter” question, let’s talk about how.
15 Tips to Enjoy Winter Golf
A round of golf in the winter requires a bit more planning. You need to approach your round a little differently. Below we run through 15 tips to help you get the most of your game.
1. The more layers the better
The weather will be colder and more unpredictable, so you need options during your round. Dress in layers. Thermal layers under your golf polo and warm pullovers over them is best.
If you get too warm once you are walking the course you can always just take off a layer.
2. Keep the hands and head warm
There is nothing worse than being out on the back 9 with cold hands and ears. You must protect these parts of your body.
For your hands, we recommend some winter gloves or golf mittens to wear between shots. It is also a good idea to have some hand warmers in your bag for the really cold days! For your head, always bring a hat.
3. Equip yourself for the elements
You need to be ready for anything during a winter round. Cold rain can be miserable!
4. Make sure you have the right bag
Many courses implement trolley bans during wet winter conditions. This means you’ll have to carry your golf bag.
If you don’t already have a decent golf stand bag, it may be time to invest in a new one. Consider an option with plenty of storage for all your winter gear and decide whether you need it to be waterproof too!
5. Invest in some decent waterproof golf shoes
Lightweight, breathable golf shoes are great for summer, but they aren’t ideal for winter.
Make sure your shoes are waterproof and that you wear warm socks. You could also try winter golf boots if your course gets particularly damp.
Pro tip: I’ve also previously worn some waterproof socks when my golf shoes were leaking a little bit, which is a good way to keep the feet dry without having to invest in a new pair of shoes.
6. Warm-up longer than usual
It will take your body longer to warm up in the cold weather. Make sure you allow extra time to get ready before you head to the first tee.
Plenty of stretching and hitting a few extra balls in the net (or range) before heading to the 1st tee is a good idea. If you don’t fancy waiting around in the cold for your playing partners to show up, warm up at home.
7. Switch your golf ball
The winter elements impact golf ball performance as well. There is no reason to play a premium golf ball during your winter round.
Save some money and play value balls that spin less and take advantage of the extra distance (you’ll need it on a cold/wet course).
8. Keep your golf ball warm
Did you know that golf balls are designed to perform well at a certain temperature?
A cold ball does not travel as far so it’s worth keeping your golf ball in your pocket as much as possible between holes.
9. Hit an extra club
In the same vein, if the ball isn’t travelling as far, you need to make up for this with your club selection.
Make sure you know your winter yardages. If the shot would be an 8-iron in summer, chances are you’re going to need to hit at least your 7-iron.
10. Know the winter rules
They are called “winter rules” for a reason. Course conditions are typically worse during the offseason so adjust how you play.
Rules such as “lift, clean, and place through the green” and “casual water” are there to help you. There’s no reason to make it harder than it needs to be. So make sure you know your rights on the course in winter.
11. Try golf indoors
If the weather gets a little too much but you still need your weekly golfing fix, why not head to a nearby high-tech indoor golf simulator?
There’s bound to be somewhere that offers this near you and it is a great way to practise with friends.
12. Head to the driving ranges
Maybe it’s too cold for a round of golf or you don’t have that much time? No problem, you can visit your local driving range to prevent rust forming on your swing.
Winter is a great time to embed changes into your swing. There’s generally less competitions and pressure on the course, so you’ll have a few months to really practise those new movements you want to make.
13. Practise at home
There will definitely be days during the winter that you don’t want to leave the comfort of your home, but that doesn’t mean you can’t work on your golf.
Perfect your putting stroke on your carpet or work on your overall fitness. There are plenty of options to keep your golf game sharp in your house.
14. Get a lesson
Most PGA certified instructors offer winter lessons at an indoor facility. Quite often, you can find a reduced price during the offseason.
The winter is also a great time to make changes to your swing with the help of a local pro.
15. Read up about the game
Not all golf lessons have to take place with clubs and a ball. You can learn a lot about playing the game via YouTube, golf books, and magazines.
Research how professionals approach different shots or ideas to improve your mental game which will save you shots on the course.
Use the offseason to improve. Winter can be a time of growth.
Instead of searching for your game in the spring, come out of the gate early ready to play and surprise your golf playing partners who haven’t touched their clubs for several months. If done right, golf can be a year-round pursuit, even in the UK!